Reflections on Personal Branding and Social Media

Do you know where you stand in life? Wouldn’t it be helpful to quantify life success, the way we do with Klout Scores and Followerwonk Social Authority ratings? We can’t. And most metrics are suspect anyway. But you CAN influence life success by investing time in your personal brand on social media. Right now.

Here’s why social media is an absolute necessity for modern career success and why you should get going on your profiles ASAP if you haven’t already.

Your Brand = What People Say About You Behind Your Back

Is it safe to say that, for many of us, career success is directly related to the way other people see us? I think so. How your boss examines your work, or an interviewer scans your resume… the outcome of pivotal career moments is impacted by how others view you, your efforts, and your potential.

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How can you increase the likelihood that the world will send career opportunities and fresh ideas your way?

Simple.

Build and maintain your personal brand on social media.

Start with LinkedIn

Ugh, LinkedIn. Even though some say LinkedIn’s dead or worth far less than it’s recent $26.2 billion valuation, this social network is mandatory. Start with LinkedIn first and update your profile regularly. This is your home base.

Setting up your profile, adding work samples to your summary, interacting with your colleagues… it takes time. Some of you might be thinking: “Spend my precious time on this potentially lame social network???”

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But stick with me. Have some faith… In yourself.

LinkedIn is not really a numbers game unless you want to play. Yes, there is benefit in growing a vast network of connections. But, this is not mandatory. You don’t have to engage with a bunch of posts and watch your connections count as though it measures your success (it doesn’t).

Attendance, however, IS mandatory. And you need to look good.

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These resources help you get your LinkedIn house in order:

Join the Twitter-sphere

OK, so LinkedIn connections in volume aren’t necessarily valuable. It’s the quality of the connections that matters in terms of career opportunities. LinkedIn is perfect for connecting with present and former colleagues, bosses, teachers, mentors, business partners, etc.

Twitter is a bit different.

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Twitter is for connecting with your industry or industries. Twitter is also a fantastic listening tool.

Once set-up properly, you can keep up with cutting edge industry news on the regular.

It is easy to connect with movers & shakers from your industry on Twitter. Just like, share, and comment on their posts. They see your activity when they log into Twitter to view their notifications. Guess what? They smile when they see your interaction.

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You’re a great person. Your brand just became a bit more well known.

Like I implied above, Twitter is a bit of a numbers game. Never forget that quality followers and posts are a must… never sacrifice quality for quantity when it comes to your personal brand. Unless that’s who you are… ouch.

Getting followers isn’t necessarily straight forward for Twitter neophytes. Twitter doesn’t hold your hand so you need some strategy going into this. Here’s one way I approach Twitter follower development:

  • Search for keywords that represent your industry or that you find interesting.
  • Scope out the posts that most capture your attention.
  • Who made those posts?
  • Does their feed look interesting?
    • Yes? Click the follow button.
  • Check out who they follow… see anyone interesting?
    • Yes? Click the follow button.
  • Repeat this process regularly.

Then the “hard” part. Engage with the people and businesses you follow. Like, share, comment. Be nice. Be professional. You win!

This is just one tactic. There is more to keeping your Twitter follow base healthy. These resources help:

The Secret Ingredient

Everyone wishes they had the secret weapon, the special ability, the super power. That one secret kung fu fighting move that transforms the average into amazing. You want to know the true secret to success on Twitter?

It’s you.

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Seriously. Your personality and accumulated life experiences are your secret weapons in the social media battlefield. Be a human. Let people into your professional life just a bit. Share your opinions, just keep it positive at all times.

Real people pick up on authenticity. Be authentic on social media.

Is this all a bunch of additional work? Yes. BUT, can you afford to ignore the impact that these social profiles have on your life?

If you are competing with other professionals for a job opening (one that would boost your career, one you are excited about) will your social presence standout? Who is most likely to get a call after the recruiter scans the social networks? What if your social presence is actually a detriment to your career?

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Don’t stress out. Take control of your personal brand. Take LinkedIn seriously.

You Reap What You Sow

Like a fertile field, these social networks do not yield results without some consistent effort on your part. These are some of the regular activities you must perform to grow and maintain your social network:

  • Constantly seek out interesting, relevant people and business to follow
  • Quickly like and/or RT posts from your top influencers
    • Write smart responses…. or no responses at all! RTs are fine if you are not feeling wordy in a good way
  • Proactively recommend colleagues and endorse them for skills on LinkedIn
  • Pull the weeds! Block fake or zombie accounts

If you’ve grown your follower base intelligently, your connections are real people.

Real social connections can influence your career in ways you can’t even imagine right now (unless you are already tapping into the power of social for career). Send good vibes through your social presence. Be a benevolent force. Help other people and they will help you. Be a shining light on social media. It’s as easy a like, RT, comment…

Is your personal brand worth the effort?

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